Beyond Simple Classifications: Contemporary Information Systems Development Projects as Complex Adaptive Systems

Karlheinz Kautz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Contemporary Information Systems Development (ISD) takes place in a dynamic environment and is generally acknowledged as a complex activity. We investigate whether complex adaptive systems (CAS) theory is relevant as a theoretical foundation for understanding ISD, and if so, what kind of conception can be achieved by utilizing the theory? We introduce key CAS concepts and describe an emergent method framework for understanding ISD. Extending existing research, our main contribution is twofold: We first show how CAS and CAS principles are advantageous for comprehending and organizing ISD in general, beyond any particular development approach chosen for the execution of a project such as agile development. Thereby, we contribute to a complexity theory of ISD. Second, we back up our argument with a coherent empirical account of contemporary ISD, and thus contribute with practical advice for ISD derived from this perspective to successfully cope with complexity in ISD in an adaptive manner.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Proceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems, ICIS 2012
Editors F. George Joey
Number of pages20
Place of PublicationAtlanta, GA
PublisherAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
Publication date2012
ChapterPaper 1151
ISBN (Electronic)9780615718439
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventThe 33rd International Conference on Information Systems. ICIS 2012 : Digital Innovation in the Service Economy - Orlando, Florida, United States
Duration: 16 Dec 201219 Dec 2012


ConferenceThe 33rd International Conference on Information Systems. ICIS 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, Florida
OtherICIS is the major annual meeting of the Association for Information Systems (AIS).
Internet address
SeriesProceedings of the International Conference on Information Systems

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